NTSB Identification: LAX91FA333.
The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 45858.
Accident occurred Sunday, July 28, 1991 in SONORA, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/08/1993
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-181, registration: N82716
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A CERTIFICATED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND TWO CERTIFICATED PRIVATE PILOTS WERE PARTICIPATING IN A MOUNTAIN FLYING TRAINING SEMINAR AS PART OF A THREE AIRPLANE FLIGHT. THE ACCIDENT AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED FOLLOWING A HIGHWAY UP A CANYON TOWARDS A 9,600 FOOT MOUNTAIN PASS. THE AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED ABOUT 200 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND, BELOW SURROUNDING CANYON WALLS. THE TERRAIN RISES RAPIDLY AT THE END OF THE CANYON. THE AIRPLANE WAS OBSERVED TO MAKE A LEFT TURN AWAY FROM HIGH TERRAIN, PULL UP INTO A NOSE HIGH ALTITUDE, AND DESCEND FROM VIEW. THE AIRPLANE WAS FOUND TO HAVE STRUCK A PINE TREE WITH THE RIGHT WINGTIP, STRIKE ANOTHER TREE, AND THEN COLLIDE WITH A LARGE ROCK OUTCROPPING AT ABOUT 9,000 FEET MEAN SEA LEVEL. AN INTENSE POST IMACCT FIRE CONSUMED ALMOST ALL OF THE AIRPLANE WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PORTIONS OF THE LEFT WING AND TAIL. THE DENSITY ALTITUDE WAS ABOUT 12,000 FEET.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

FAILURE OF THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR/PILOT-IN-COMMAND TO ADEQUATELY SUPERVISE THE FLIGHT AND TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE AIRSPEED BY EXCEEDING THE CLIMB PERFORMANCE OF THE AIRPLANE. CONTRIBUTING TO THE ACCIDENT WAS THE PILOT-IN-COMMAND'S INADEQUATE PLANNING AND HIS SELECTION OF AN IMPROPER ALTITUDE FOR FLIGHT INTO RISING TERRAIN DURING HIGH DENSITY ALTITUDE CONDITIONS.

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